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Roberto Patiño: Food Security and Community Welfare Under One Roof

Roberto Patiño: Food Security and Community Welfare Under One Roof

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Roberto, the founder of Alimenta La Solidaridad. Let’s learn what’s happening at Alimenta La Solidaridad and how Roberto is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Roberto! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Alimenta La Solidaridad?

Roberto: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! In Alimenta la Solidaridad, for seven years, we have been working to contribute to the food security, in the midst of a Complex Humanitarian Emergency, of thousands of children from the most vulnerable communities in 12 states of Venezuela. This work has been possible thanks to the volunteer work of 789 volunteer mothers and community organization. We have also focused on female empowerment through the training of women in leadership, education, among other topics.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Roberto: Working in communities has been a great inspiration for me. Seeing and experiencing how people mobilize, organize and take responsibility for their reality and strive to change it, is something that keeps me motivated to keep fighting. I am a true believer that local leadership must be promoted, giving them tools, so that they have a decisive role in their future, without waiting for someone else to solve their problems. I have seen this in the communities. I believe that all these values of solidarity, democracy, commitment, teamwork, empathy, etc. are transmitted daily to each of the children in our dining rooms and will guide them in their future.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Roberto: Through the work of Alimenta La Solidaridad we have benefited 15,366 children in 243 soup kitchens in 13 states of Venezuela. By December 2022, we had delivered 18,900,000 meals. All beneficiary children are periodically evaluated nutritionally and we attend to children with acute malnutrition. Forty educational spaces have been created to reinforce children's learning in reading and writing. In addition, 72 libraries have been set up in the dining halls. Among other achievements, 375 women were trained in leadership.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Roberto: On the occasion of the anniversary of Alimenta La Solidaridad, we carried out the "Solidarity Route", which consisted of four tours through parishes with which we have been linked all this time, visiting the dining halls located there. The objective was to show the organization's achievements to special guests and to celebrate with these communities our joint work. These tours resulted in new alliances to support our projects and reach more communities and more people.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Roberto: With Alimenta la Solidaridad we have had continuous learning, which has led us to provide more comprehensive care to our beneficiaries. For example, in addition to serving children, we have incorporated pregnant and lactating women and older adults. We have also incorporated training workshops on violence against women and children. We also created a program called Sustento, which is a social enterprise that seeks to provide women with tools for their economic independence.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Roberto—it’s been an honor!

Roberto is a Venezuelan social entrepreneur and democracy and human rights activist. He holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard University and a BS in manufacturing engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar. Patiño is the founder of the NGOs Mi Convive and Alimenta La Solidaridad. Patiño is an expert in citizen security and conflict resolution. (First published on the Ladderworks website on July 19, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.